7-in-Seven Countdown: Top 2021 McNeese impact players
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - We are just a few weeks away from KPLC’s coverage of TDL: Two-A-Days and to get ready we continue our 7-in-Seven countdown.
Countdowns will include topics from McNeese to high school football. A new countdown each week, beginning every Monday.
We continue the countdown with the top seven McNeese impact players this upcoming season.
7. Stephon Huderson, Running back
Coming in at #7 is a name that some of you may not recognize but it’s one you will want to remember. Stephon Huderson is a senior running back transfer out of Tulane.
Huderson comes with lots of experience as he led the green wave with 773 yards on 128 attempts scoring 4 touchdowns and also set a career-high in the receiving game with 7 catches for 87 yards in the 2020 season and has the ability to return kicks as well with 20 career returns for 504 yards and brought one back to the house. He was also named to the American Athletic Conference Second Team.
Expect Huderson to be utilized heavily in the McNeese running back rotation come the fall.
6. Chris Joyce, Defensive Back
Coming in at #6 is a new name and face that made a big splash in the spring season. Chris Joyce is a sophomore defensive back transfer from Tulane.
Joyce appeared in all of the Cowboy’s spring games and earned 2020-2021 2nd team All-Southland honors. He led the Southland Conference in passes defended with 15. Joyce also isn’t afraid to tackle and recorded 22 solo tackles in the spring season (27 overall).
His best game tackling-wise came against Northwestern State when he recorded six tackles. This was the breakout game for the McNeese defense as well.
Before he became a Cowboy, Joyce was at Tulane where he played in nine games his freshman season and then four in his sophomore campaign. He recorded his first college interception during the AutoNation Cure Bowl during his freshman year against UL-Lafayette.
5. Cody Orgeron, Quarterback
Coming in at #5 is Cody Orgeron who also appeared on last year’s list as well. During the spring season, Orgeron and the offense struggled at the beginning but found their rhythm during their dominant 21-7 win against Northwestern State. His performances against NorthWestern State and Nicholls were the best of the 2021 spring season.
Against the Demons, Orgeron threw for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns and stayed consistent in the home game finale against the Colonels with 354 passing yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Orgeron became the eighth player in program history to surpass the 4,000 career passing yards mark and threw for 1,560 yards passing with 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions over the course of the season. With a lot of the same faces returning for the 2021 fall season expect Orgeron to ride last season’s momentum into his final season as a Cowboy.
4. Josh Matthews, Wide Receiver
Josh Matthews is a redshirt junior transfer from Louisiana Tech and has the size and speed of a receiver you want to line up outside the numbers week-to-week. Matthews saw action in all 12 games in his sophomore campaign but didn’t produce a lot of numbers offensively. However, that all changed when he joined McNeese.
During his first season as a Cowboy Matthews showed the ability to make big plays downfield in the Poke’s vertical passing game. He also creates matchup problems for opposing defensive backs. He recorded 32 receptions for 458 receiving yards which placed him fourth in the Southland. In addition, he was fourth in the league with four touchdown catches on the season, and earned third-team All-Southland Conference honors.
His best performance of the season came against the Nicholls Colonels when he caught seven balls for 147 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
3. Mason Kinsey, Defensive End
The veteran defensive end out of Mansfield, Texas had himself a productive junior season and will look to carry that same level of production heading into the fall. He started all seven games for the Cowboys in the spring and was ranked No. 3 in sacks in the conference and finished fourth in tackles for loss in the league.
He started off the season with a monster 10 tackle game against Tarleton State and recorded one sack in games against UIW, Sam Houston, and Nicholls. It’s because of his production that he earned 2nd team All-Southland Conference honors and was named to the All-Louisiana second-team. Kinsey finished the season with 38 total tackles in addition to seven QB hurries, two pass breakups, and a forced fumble.
Kinsey is a part of a defensive line rotation that is sure to give opposing offensive lines a fit when the pokes line up against them in the fall.
2. Andre Sam, Defensive Back
A familiar local product out of Iowa that has seen a lot of action for the Blue and Gold over the last few seasons. Sam returns to the list as the second most impactful player in the Cowboys secondary.
He’s coming off a season where he led the team in tackles with 52 and recorded three interceptions. One coming against Northwestern State and the other two in the season finale against Sam Houston. In addition to his interception against the Demons, Sam also recorded a career-high 10 tackles.
At the end of the season, Sam earned first-team All-Southland Conference honors and was named to the All-Louisiana second-team.
His ability to find the football and cause turnovers is something the pokes defense will need if it wants to build off the surge of momentum that was built over the last few games of the spring season.
1. Isaiah Chambers, Defensive End
Closing out this list at number one is defensive end Isaiah chambers. Chambers came to McNeese as a transfer from Houston where he tallied 9 and a half sacks in 15 games. He had a bit of a slow start with the pokes and did not record his first full sack until the fourth game of the season against Lamar. After that chambers recorded three against Northwestern State two against Nicholls and one against Sam Houston.
His seven and a half tackles on the season were good enough for the most in the Southland and second in the entire FCS. His 14 tackles for loss held the same spots in the Southland and FCS as well, earning him first-team All American honors in addition to being a finalist for the Buck Buchanan award awarded to the top defensive player in the FCS.
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